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What is presbyopia?

“I brought my mom in for her annual eye checkup. She is 69 years old and she wears glasses. We were told she has a condition that can make it difficult for her to see clearly at distances. The condition is called presbyopia. Can you share some additional information on this condition?”

We had a great question from a 103.3 US Country listener. So let’s talk about presbyopia!

What is presbyopia?

Let’s start by talking about anatomy. Inside your eye, you have a structure called the crystalline lens. It is clear and it sits right behind the colored part of your eye, the iris. The lens functions as an automatic focusing system, just like the focusing system on a camera. It automatically thins or flexes to adjust to the object you are viewing.

Presbyopia occurs when the lens begins to lose its function. Over time, the lens becomes harder and stiffer. This process usually starts around the age of 42, although that can vary. The process continues until approximately age 55 – at which time the focusing system no longer functions at all.

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Can presbyopia be prevented?

At this time, there is no way to prevent presbyopia. However, it can easily be managed with eyeglasses or contact lenses. It is also encouraging to know that some surgical options are available such as the RainDrop corneal implant or with multi-focal intraocular lens during cataract surgery. Of course, not everyone is a candidate for these surgical options and it is best to ask your optometrist about them.

Can presbyopia affect your distance vision?

For most people, presbyopia will only affect their near vision. However, it is possible for it to affect your distance vision. As the process occurs, it can cause a relaxing effect on the eye and cause a plus shift in prescription.



Top image by Sankowski on Pexels (location) used under Creative Commons Zero (CCO) License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 7/3/2017.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.